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Earth and planetary sciences professor Andy Jacobson leads a team of researchers at Northwestern and the Chicago Botanic Garden investigating the effects of soil additives on agricultural fields.

Learn about the research

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Northwestern researchers are the first to discover a link between so-called “underground climate change,” or “subsurface heat islands,” and ground movements beneath urban areas. The researchers found that as the ground warms, it also moves, and this could be a ticking time bomb for urban infrastructure, which is now, quite literally, on shaky ground.

Learn about subsurface heat islands

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Many of us amped up our cleaning regimens during the pandemic. But now Erica Hartmann, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and dozens of other scientists have issued a warning about the overuse of certain chemicals often found in cleaning products.

See what they found

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Based on decades of research, professor Viorica Marian shares remarkable benefits of knowing more than one language, from delaying Alzheimer’s disease to improving cognitive performance. Marian’s 2023 book, The Power of Language, will be translated from English to 10 other languages.

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In the summer, you can find Elsa Godtfredsen in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado scouting for bees and other pollinators, testing soil moisture levels, gathering seeds and carefully monitoring the health of local alpine wildflowers. A doctoral student in Northwestern’s plant biology and conservation program, she’s been running a multiyear experiment to see how early snowmelt (one sign of a warming planet) will affect wildflowers — and, by extension, the broader ecosystems upon which we all rely.

Learn about her discovery

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The alluring trend of moving to a more affordable locale to work remotely as COVID-19 upends our lives will likely not hold up in the long run. That’s because places like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and other large metropolitan areas have the traits that make them hubs for a strong, innovative economy.

Read about innovation in cities

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The coronavirus pandemic forced patients and doctors to engage via video and phone — and made virtual visits mainstream. Doctors say video visits and phone check-ins advance the delivery of health care by removing physical barriers, while also increasing privacy and reducing stigma.

Read more about telehealth and its benefits

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Northwestern researcher Galen Bodenhausen says that despite women’s political gains, an economic crisis can spark gender stereotyping.

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South Asians account for 60% of the world’s heart disease patients, and that trend continues for the 5.4 million South Asian immigrants in the United States. South Asians — the second–fastest growing minority group in the country — have the highest death rate from heart disease compared with other ethnic groups.

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Your brain, says neuroscientist Ken Paller, is not like a laptop, shutting down when you close the lid. Instead, when you close your lids at night, your brain remains hard at work, consolidating information you’ve learned that day — and the days before.

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